Child pornography suspect denied bail modification

Adam Hinton is escorted from the courtroom Wednesday after his hearing was continued and a bail motion was denied.
Adam Hinton is escorted from the courtroom Wednesday after his hearing was continued and a bail motion was denied. CDT photo

A Taylor Township man accused of hundreds of child pornography charges will remain incarcerated after his preliminary hearing was postponed Wednesday.

Adam Hinton, 25, will return to court June 17 for the hearing, which was pushed back at the request of the prosecution. District Judge Carmine Prestia also denied a bail motion “given the nature of the offenses.”

State police arrested Hinton last week after an investigation by the state police Computer Crimes Unit and, since then, has been held at Centre County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 bail.

He is suspected by police of having and disseminating sexual images of children using the online file sharing software BitTorrent. A hard drive taken from Hinton’s computer contained 535 of the pictures, most of which depicted infants, according to the court documents.

Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Foster asked Prestia for the continuance because the lead investigator in Hinton’s case was subpoenaed to testify in another county in a homicide case.

Foster said that, although the continuance would put Hinton outside of the 14-day window after arrest that a preliminary hearing must be conducted in, there was good cause to do so in this instance because the trooper’s testimony is critical to the case.

Richard Settgast, Hinton’s public defender, disagreed with the continuance because other officers were involved in the investigation who could have appeared in court instead.

Settgast then requested that Prestia modify Hinton’s bail to 10 percent of $10,000. That would ensure Hinton’s appearance in future court dates because he would have to post $1,000 to be freed and forfeit the rest to the county if he flees.

The purpose of bail is to ensure arrival at court, not punish someone before they are convicted, Settgast said. The charges against Hinton are still only allegations, he said, and argued that his client does not pose a danger to the public, pointing to the fact that he has no prior record and he would be unable to gain employment around children because of the charges he now faces.

Hinton had been employed as a part-time custodian with the State College Area School District.

Foster disagreed with making any changes to bail because the amount of prison time Hinton could face — at lease one to two years for each of the 535 charges — might entice him to run and because the “heinous” sexual nature of the photos police said were found on Hinton’s computer suggests a threat to the community.

“The next step is actually doing it,” Foster said.